possiblity of two win95 os on one disk?

Posted on 1998-04-27
Last Modified: 2013-12-16
How do I install and run two completely different win95 os's on one machine?
What I want to do is to have one win95 where I can play/experiment with sw without running the danger of impacting my
"real" win95 which I use for business daily. As far as external drives are concerned, all I have is a zip drive. I want to do it
without having to go through or boot from the zip as it is rather slow with win95 on it...
I have system commander and have tried that on another machine, however, when I attempted to install the second
95 on the second partition I created with system commander, it will install key files into the c: partition no matter
what, thus preventing me from having separate registries and system files. And I have heard somewhere that win95
will always look for ONE set of key system files, not allowing a second win95 installation on the same disk. Thus
my question if there is a way around that. Hope this makes sense.
Question by:pax
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Accepted Solution

estest earned 200 total points
ID: 1750767
Use PQ partition magic to create 2 primary DOS partitions. Then hide one. Then install one copy of Windows on the first partition. Then hide the first partition and install the second Windows on the second. You will need to install PQ's boot manager. This will allow you to install as many copies of Windows 95 on one drive as you can fit. You can only have 1 active DOS partition at a time and boot manager will boot to itself and ask you which one you want to use.

Author Comment

ID: 1750768
Can I do that with system commander too and if so, how. BTW,  I am wanting to leave the preinstalled win95 as is and only install one other win95, so installing two win95's is not an option. I would appreciate it if you could tune into the system commander issue - thanks much.

Expert Comment

ID: 1750769
Yes you can use System Commander as a matter of fact I
would recommend it over PQM.

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Author Comment

ID: 1750770
Could you advise me on how to do that with syscommander in detail? The crucial issue seems to  be that the second win95 install will or won't write it's system files into the c: of the main partition. In any case, I am unsure how to do it and tried to model it on another machine without success.

Expert Comment

ID: 1750771
Do a complete uninstall of system commander first, then with your Win95 boot disk, boot into fdisk and activate your second partition, format your second partition and load Win95 as usual.  now, boot back into fdisk with the boot disk, and re-activate your 1st partition.  Install system commander on the 1st partition.  Now upon reboot, SC will say new OS found and ask you to name it.  And you can now at bootup choose whichever Win95 you want to boot into.

And no, both OS' registry is keep differently, it won't affect one another.

Author Comment

ID: 1750772
Thank you - I will try that. I am a bit leery working with fdisk, but I guess I may have to try it if I want to do the above. Is there a reason you would  go with the fdisk procedure over using syscommander's OS Wizard to install a new os?

Expert Comment

ID: 1750773
I had one time mess up the boot info using SC's OS Wizard, ended up reformatting the HDD.  Just to play safe, I now use only fdisk.

Author Comment

ID: 1750774
Thank you much for your answer.
Not having used fdisk, I am assuming that after formatting the second partition and rebooting into fdisk again, "re-activating" the first partition will not harm the preinstalled win 95 on that partition in any way? I take it there is a "re-activation" option in fdisk?

Thanks again. Your info has been the most valuable.
LVL 14

Expert Comment

ID: 1750775
pax and larbel,
I have a friend who did what you're trying to do.
hang on and I'll try to get him to answer.
I only know he called one bootable partition Win95 and the other bootable partition

I'll be back


Expert Comment

ID: 1750776
Let me rephase that,  first, boot into fdisk, if you're using OSR2 it will ask you if you want to enable large disk support,  if you want to enable FAT32 choose Yes, otherwise choose No for FAT16.  Then you should have 4 options, the second one should be make partition active.  By activating and re-activating I meant to set it active.  As soon as you set the chose partition (a check mark next to it) active and boot into it, the other partition will be ignored as it's a logical disk, so there's really nothing to worry about, and it won't harm your original Win95 in any ways.

Author Comment

ID: 1750777
Thanks larbel,

your explanation makes more sense to me.

Bud, would most welcome hearing from you again.

LVL 14

Expert Comment

ID: 1750778

rename original win95 directory to something else,like "orgw95" install new
copy to default windows install directory. now you have original plus new on
same hard drive, the only thing they should have in common is what is on the
root of the boot drive. now make multiboot autoexec.bat with 2 different
path statements referenceing each copy of win 95, one with path for orgw95
and one for windows. then at boot up pick which autoexec.bat you want to
boot with. the only thing i can think would mess up is the swap file, so
make sure they are both set the same size.


make your second hard drive (D) bootable, define it in cmos as the first one
to boot from. load win95 to a different dircetory name other than default,
then install it to drive D, it will create the files and swapfile on the
root of drive D. now you have 2 seperate installs on 2 different hard
drives. you will have to make another set of config and autoexec.bat files
for the D drive that have the path as D instead of C. now you can switch
back and forth by chaging your boot drive in cmos from C to D. or if there
is somekind of front end boot manager around that will do this without
alwasy going into cmos to change it.

this is all i can think of right now without actuall trying it out myself


Author Comment

ID: 1750779

most appreciated your advice, tried it as you said and it worked just fine. Would like to "give you some  points for that" but don't know how to do that. Tell me how and I will

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